[A young Persian prince runs to a house where a girl in white dress sleeps.]
PRINCE (offscreen): Most people think time is like a river that flows swift and sure in one direction, but I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you: they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm. You may wonder who I am and why I say this? Sit down, and I will tell you a tale like none that you have ever heard. Know first that I am the son of Shah Rahman, a mighty King of Persia. On our way to Azad, with a small company of men, we passed through India with a promise of honour and glory that tempted my father into a grievous error.
[We're taking a deep dive into the memories of a young prince. The King's army is preparing to attack the city.]
KING SHAH RAHMAN: Now, my son!
[The young prince, who stands near his father, begins the attack. In the heat of battle, the king rises his sword on an elderly man who has turned out to be a traitor-vizier.]
VIZIER: Your majesty! I trust you remember your promise. The Maharaja's treasure vaults lie within.
[When the young prince hears that, he leaves.]
KING SHAH RAHMAN: See how he rides - ha! Ah! Like a warrior's son!
[Suddenly the wall behind him collapses and the young prince is cut off from the main army.]
PRINCE (offscreen): Do you think I felt regret as I gazed upon the destruction we had brought? Or at least humility at the speed with which a world can be transformed from a good one into a hell? If you think so, you are mistaken. From that moment I thought of one thing only - the honor and glory I would bring my father by fighting like a warrior in my first battle.
[The prince climbs up the wall and climbs inside the building. He will fight with the soldiers of the enemy alone.]
PRINCE (offscreen): Many men that day sought to win honor and glory on the battlefield that their king might say to them as Khosrau said to Rustam: “You are the noblest of my warriors.” From the moment my sword tasted blood, I knew this would not be my way. I would win my father's praise not by killing, but by being the first to find the Maharaja's treasure vault and the wonders within.
[He continues to explore the palace and finds the treasury.]
PRINCE (offscreen): And there it lay, just out of reach. The dagger of time. There was a treasure I could carry with pride as a trophy of our victory. If I could only get there.
[He finds a way to get to the dagger.]
[Examining the dagger he presses the button at the very moment when a piece of the dome falls on his head. Time is rewinded and the piece returns to its place.]
PRINCE (offscreen): I had what I came for. It was time to get out, now.
[He's going back to his father.]
KING SHAH RAHMAN: Oh!
Prince: Father! I have brought us honor and glory.
VIZIR: (coughs) Your majesty! You promised me my choice of the Maharaja's treasures… that dagger!
KING SHAH RAHMAN: Surely, you won't deny the lad a souvenir for his first battle? You may have your choice of all the Maharaja's other treasures… except that hourglass.
[The Vizier quietly snarls with anger.]
KING SHAH RAHMAN: That will make a fine gift for the Sultan of Azad when we pass through his city. And some exotic animals for his menagerie… and two dozens slave girls.
[The Vizier coughs with blood. There's a girl in a red dress watching.]
KING SHAH RAHMAN: Yes! That should be enough. I want no animals or maidens harmed until I am chosen. Let it be known: King Shah Rahman is merciful in victory.
[One of the guards is grabbing the girl. Soon the king begins to take the looted treasures and slaves from the captured city - including the captured girl in a red dress.]
PRINCE (offscreen): Trust not a man who has betrayed his master, nor take him into your own service, lest he betray you too. I learned the truth of this, to my sorrow, the day that we arrived in Azad as the Sultan's honoured guests.
KING SHAH RAHMAN: My friend!
SULTAN OF AZAD: My friend! Your visit brings joy and honor to my poor and humble dwelling. If only you'd given me time to prepare a proper welcome.
KING SHAH RAHMAN: The glories of Azad are famed throughout the world... and yet, the best is yet to come. I give you the Sands of Time. May the friendship between our kingdoms endure as long as time itself.
SULTAN OF AZAD: The sand! Why does it glow?
VIZIER: I can tell you. Inside the hourglass is a marvel that no living man has seen. Alas! Only the dagger can unlock the sands of time… and it belongs to a greater one than I. A young prince, dearer to his father than all the wealth of India. Perhaps, he would oblige.
[The girl's clearly excited about what's going on. The prince takes the dagger out of the sheath and goes to the hourglass.]
GIRL: No! DON'T! STOP! NOOOO!!!
[The prince inserts the dagger in the hourglass. The sky is tightened by clouds and the sand from the clock falls to the floor.]
SULTAN OF AZAD: Is it made to do this?
[The Vizier chanting a spell.]
[The King and his guards are beginning to turn to monsters.]
VIZIER: Give me the dagger!
VIZIER: You have unleashed the sands of time. I can undo what you have done. GIVE IT TO ME!
[He runs away, and the aisle behind his back collapses. The prince finds himself face to face with several monsters created by the sands of time.]
GIRL (offscreen): Prince! Use the dagger! Strike with the dagger. Take his sand. Now! Finish him!
PRINCE (offscreen): Each time I struck with the dagger, they rose to fight again. I soon realized that only by taking them into my own dagger, the sands that possessed them, could I liberate them from their monstrous living death.
[Having defeated the monsters, the prince decides to use a pole of light and sand to save the game. He sees scenes from his future.]
PRINCE (offscreen): You think me mad. I can see it by the look in your eyes. You think my story is impossible. Perhaps I am mad. Who would not be driven mad by horrors such as I have lived? But I assure you, every word is true.
[He finds a way to get through the rubble.]
PRINCE (offscreen): The guest rooms, where my father, all our entourage and I should have passed the night, lay cold in silent. The sands of time had swept through, stealing life and warmth from everything they touched. And I, who unleashed the cataclysm, had been spared. Were there others like me, who yet clung to life, hiding in fear among the ruins? It did not seem so.
[Soon he sees the same two in the red dress.]
PRINCE: STOP! I won't hurt you. Had I really seen her?
[He continues to explore the palace and fight against the spawns of sand of time.]
PRINCE (offscreen): Or had my senses given way under the burden of horrors too great to bear and conjured up a phantom? Either way, I could not rest until I had found her again. I soon discovered that when I had collected enough sand, the dagger gained the power to stop time… not for me but for the enemy I struck.
PRINCE (offscreen): The miracle I’d discovered by accident in Maharajah's treasure room I now discovered that I could triggered at will by pressing the switch on dagger’s handle. I COULD TURN back time! Whence came these visions that assaulted me thus, like fever dreams. Each time, I awoke feeling drained and beaten. And each time, what I had seen came to pass. As if the sands of time were giving me a glimpse into my own future.
[He finds a strange room in the middle of which there is a fountain with several bridges leading to it.]
PRINCE: What the? Hello? Is anyone there? I have a feeling I'm not in Azad anymore. Water?
[The prince drinks water, hears otherworldly voices and teleports back to the palace as if it was just a dream. His health is increasing.]
PRINCE: What just happened? Strange… I feel… wonderful!
[When he walks through the palace, someone grabs his clothes and drags him into the room.]
GIRL: Give me the dagger.
PRINCE: Who are you?
GIRL: I am Farah, the daughter of the Maharaja from whom you stole it. This is your doing.
PRINCE: I saw my father turn to sand!
FARAH: And we will share his fate if you do not give me the dagger to undo what you have done.
PRINCE: Your traitorous Vizier used the same words. From now on, I trust no one but myself.
[Some giant beetles sneak to them.]
PRINCE: Run! Go back to the reception hall! Wait for me there! GO!
[He defeats the beetles and goes outside the palace.]
PRINCE: Now I remember her… Since we left India she's been there… In the desert I’ve felt her dark eyes upon me. Now, her she was again. She and I… The only two survivors. Did I say two? Excuse me. We were three.
[He sees two birds taking away the hourglass somewhere.]
PRINCE: The Hourglass! What…?
PRINCE (offscreen): I did not understand the meaning of what I had just seen, but I knew with a certainty I could not explain that those winged creatures had a master. The man who had tricked me into opening the Hourglass now had his prize, and for some unknown purpose coveted the dagger as well; would stop at nothing to possess it. Well, I would give him what he sought - I would plunge it into his foul and treacherous heart!
[Having defeated another group of enemies and absorbed them with the dagger, Prince comments.]
PRINCE (offscreen): It was indeed the “Dagger of Time”. I began to realize why the Vizier wanted it so badly.
[Soon he enters a huge cylindrical room with a platform in the center. There are several handles on the platform. From above, the guard's voice can be heard.]
GUARD: Oh, thank God! I was afraid you were one of them. Can you help me activate the Azad defense system? It'll take both of us to do it. I'll reset the axles for you. The man who's normally in charge of this got… Never mind. Ride the platform down to the bottom, then use those two cranks to bring it back up. Do you see those four axles? You'll need to pick them up one by one until you've got all four. Then bring them up to the top together. Make sure you pick them up in the right order! That's it! You've got the first axle - now pick up the other three. Remember: pay attention to the grooves! That's it! One crank turns the platform, the other one raises and lowers it. That's two. Just one more. That's four! Now - bring them up to the top, and line them up with their gears. That's it! I knew you could do it. Now, there's one last step. Do you see that platform? Throw your lever, and I'll throw mine.
PRINCE: What manner of machine is this?
GUARD: I told you, it's the palace's defense system. Stop wasting time. Throw your lever! We did it! Serve those accursed demons right. Oh, by god they'll rue the day they ever dared attack the Palace of Azad!
[Many traps are activated throughout the palace. The guard shouts and turns into the sand of time monster. The prince defeats him.]
PRINCE (offscreen): Oh no! Why did I listen to that madman? The palace's defenses had a twisted logic of their own. They could be circumvented by using the strategically placed switches which I soon learned to recognize. Yet it was hard to escape the feeling that I had made a terrible mistake, by setting in motion such a deadly system of traps… which seemed in truth more likely to claim my life, than that of an invader that was not flesh and blood.